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Marie G., CO

I got COVID-19 in April 2020 and continue to struggle with post COVID-19 health conditions. I am a patient at National Jewish, a top respiratory hospital in the nation, in their Center for Post-COVID-19 Care and Recovery. I have had several chest X-rays, a CT scan, pulmonary and heart tests galore while working with speech pathologists, a cardiologist, and pulmonologists.

I am so lucky to have a team of doctors helping and supporting me so I can be well again. Currently, I am in about the 25% of patients who had COVID-19 where all tests appear normal (nothing alarming) but I cannot physically do the things I used to do before having COVID-19. My mental and physical health have both taken a hit as I continue to fight to get back to living (just a normal) life. Bad air quality days are a dime a dozen lately in Colorado.

Last year, around this time, I had to leave the state to stop coughing, reduce the heart palpitations, and just to help breathe better. I now have multiple notifications on my phone and email to inform me about ozone action day alerts and air quality action days. I stay indoors on these days, but it still exasperates my regular, everyday symptoms. It prevents me from gardening, walking around the block, hanging out in the backyard with friends, going to a local restaurant and sitting on the patio....ya know - life. I often look to see where we could possibly move that has better air quality to help me. I know I am lucky to not be in a hospital on a ventilator or even admitted, but chronic anything is not fun and compound that with bad air quality days and it is tough.

Overall - it is scary - difficulty breathing and heart palpitations increase on bad air quality days. And, I couldn't prevent this from happening. I got COVID-19 before there was a vaccine. Now, we have it available and we should feel lucky to be able to get a vaccine to prevent getting this horrible virus. This fight, to breathe with no worries, is hard. When the vaccine became available, I was first in line when it was my turn and I cried - hoping it would prevent any chance of getting the virus again. That was a real fear. Now, I persevere and watch out for bad air quality days with the hope that I'll be cured and back to me before COVID-19.

First Published: August 10, 2021

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